Come play in my world for awhile!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How KathyB! lost her sparkle (part 1)

I've gotten more than a few kind emails of late pretty much asking... Did I fall off the face of the earth... Did I quit blogging... Did I die... What the heck?!

I didn't die literally but I think, figuratively, a little bit of me might be gone.

Late this summer I unexpectedly found myself pregnant. PREGNANT! This was not planned.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor and ran through the 1,001 reasons that this pregnancy could not be happening to me now, I realized it could work. And as the shock slowly began to wane, I felt a small seed of joy begin to take root. I wandered through the days nurturing my secret, and frantically clutching at the the initial glimmer of peace that comes with acceptance and the first gossamer wisps of excitement that come with the creation of new life. And every time the specter within me questioned the fledgling joy or whispered oh, so seductively that it would be better if this baby didn't happen. I tried to let the seeds of happiness and peace grow over that terrible voice.

I hadn't told anyone. My husband was crazy-busy working on a special project and traveling and I knew this would knock him for a loop. Big time. I wanted to wait a few weeks until his schedule returned to normal. And I was only just barely pregnant. I had time.

And then I lost the baby.

And I was so terribly, hauntingly, heart-breakingly sad.

And so angry and disgusted with myself. How could I honestly mourn the loss of someone who I hadn't been completely sure I wanted? How could I be sorry to lose someone who I had secretly referred to as a mistake? How could I have the audacity to mourn this child when there was a small, dark part of me who was thankful that it was gone?
I did what I always do - I packaged up my sadness and chose to focus instead on the things in life for which I am thankful.

And it worked.

Kind of.

But my shiny, happy view of the world suddenly looked a bit dimmer, and had a noticeable and bitter undertone.

I didn't leave the blogosphere right away, but I didn't really want to be here either. I've always found such joy in blogging. It seemed wrong to be indulging myself. Making myself happy.

When a part of my heart had wished this baby away.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm starting to see a trend

It started with these little guys. They were purchased for a first grade science unit. The little fishies obligingly reproduced and taught the children what they needed to know. So when the teacher casually mentioned that she was going to flush them down the toilet at the end of the school year, I offered to take them. The teacher told me they would only live a couple of weeks anyway...

The water in my house must be like the fountain of freaking youth, because I must have at least 50 guppies swimming around now.

Then came these little guys. When I took the four kittens in I honestly thought at least one was going to die. I thought I was keeping them warm and safe so that they could pass in peace. Apparently, I thought wrong. We still have two.

Then came this little friend. I was taking two of my daughters to the orthodontist and there was a cute little bird sitting right smack dab in the middle of the street! As we drew closer I was surprised he didn't fly away. When we walked right up to it I was officially concerned. I couldn't very well just leave him sitting there to be squashed by a car, could I?

I got the girls situated with the orthodontist and headed back to the street armed with some of the dentist's latex gloves to save the sweet little bird. I scooped him up and put him under a tree to rest while I went back to check on the girls. I also needed to find a small box to carry him home...

Thankfully, he was gone when I got back. I already have a beaver/rabbit, and two kittens on the back porch.

Plus, I think Pat might make me sleep on the porch if I bring any more animals home.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What if...

Soon after I had my first child someone gave me some advice. The wise person likened raising a child to filling a pot. The pot is given to you empty, and your job as a parent is to pour love and wisdom and courage and kindness into that pot until it's full.

At the time I found that rather poetic.

Lately, I find it frightening. I have a big heart and a strong mind. If anyone has the abundance with which to fill the proverbial pot, it's me. But...

What if the pot has a teeny, tiny hole at the bottom?

What if the gifts I pour in are slowly escaping?

What if, like the eroding force of water, the escaping gifts weaken the fiber of the pot and the hole becomes larger?

What if the extra love I pour in isn't enough to compensate for the leak?

What if I am not enough?
* * *
Note: This is not a plea for validation of my parenting. While far from perfect, I rest comfortably knowing I've done the best I could possibly do. At least most days. But lately there have been some problems in my world that have caused me to question whether the sheer force of my love for my children is enough for them to feel validated. And complete. And worthy.
For the first time I can truly see that, as freely and eagerly as I pour my love into the pot,
this particular pot may never be full.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wait for it

Pat and I went to a toga party last weekend.

We had dinner at home with the kids before heading out for the evening.

Guess what I made for dinner?


Okay. I know that was bad. But I love it. And the best part of all is I didn't even do it on purpose. I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I realized I was eating Caesar salad with a guy dressed like Caesar.

Just humor me with a little polite laughter....

Friday, October 2, 2009

running errands with a...

Some of my kids are on break (remember, we're on a year round school calendar) and they are old enough to find great joy in surfing the web. Yesterday before we went out to run some errands three of them were gathered around the laptop laughing like evil genius'. I peered over their shoulders in curiosity, but it was just a page full of tired jokes so I went about my business.

Later that day we were at the bank waiting to use the ATM. The kids were whispering and giggling as we waited for our turn. I'll admit to being a little curious but I ignored them since they weren't hitting each other, screaming, or doing anything embarrassing. I had some deposits and I also needed some cash. I was focused on the banking and the fact that the kids had grown ominously quiet didn't register until after the fact.

I had just finished the transaction and taken my cash when Abby, who was standing right next to me, starts hopping up and down and yelling:

Jackpot! We hit the jackpot! Woo hoo!
We're rich, we're rich...

This went on a bit longer than it should have because I was literally frozen in place as I watched Abby do her little leprechaun dance and shriek about our "windfall."

The faces of the people behind us in line were almost as funny as Abby's performance. From the look of things I think they thought we had just pulled off some sort of heist. I clapped my hand over Abby's mouth and shot the other two with my evil-mommy-death-stare and hustled them all to the car.

Apparently, the joke site they were on had given them the impression that this would be funny.

I need to do some cyber-sleuthing fast so I can figure out what else they read...

before I take them to Costco today.

No monkey business today

Kevin of Always Home and Uncool has asked me to post the text below. He is raising awareness of juvenile myositis, a rare autoimmune disease his daughter was diagnosed with on this day seven years ago. This day also happens to be his wife's birthday. And while this post will surely raise awareness and money, it is also his birthday gift to his wife... so that no other mother has to suffer through the fear and uncertainty of a child stricken with this disease.

Our pediatrician admitted it early on.

The rash on our 2-year-old daughter's cheeks, joints and legs was something he'd never seen before.

The next doctor wouldn't admit to not knowing.

He rattled off the names of several skins conditions -- none of them seemingly worth his time or bedside manner -- then quickly prescribed antibiotics and showed us the door.

The third doctor admitted she didn't know much.

The biopsy of the chunk of skin she had removed from our daughter's knee showed signs of an "allergic reaction" even though we had ruled out every allergy source -- obvious and otherwise -- that we could.

The fourth doctor had barely closed the door behind her when, looking at the limp blonde cherub in my lap, she admitted she had seen this before. At least one too many times before.

She brought in a gaggle of med students. She pointed out each of the physical symptoms in our daughter:

The rash across her face and temples resembling the silhouette of a butterfly.

The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

The reddish alligator-like skin, known as Gottron papules, covering the knuckles of her hands.

The onset of crippling muscle weakness in her legs and upper body.

She then had an assistant bring in a handful of pages photocopied from an old medical textbook. She handed them to my wife, whose birthday it happened to be that day.

This was her gift -- a diagnosis for her little girl.

That was seven years ago -- Oct. 2, 2002 -- the day our daughter was found to have juvenile dermatomyositis, one of a family of rare autoimmune diseases that can have debilitating and even fatal consequences when not treated quickly and effectively.

Our daughter's first year with the disease consisted of surgical procedures, intravenous infusions, staph infections, pulmonary treatments and worry. Her muscles were too weak for her to walk or swallow solid food for several months. When not in the hospital, she sat on our living room couch, propped up by pillows so she wouldn't tip over, as medicine or nourishment dripped from a bag into her body.

Our daughter, Thing 1, Megan, now age 9, remembers little of that today when she dances or sings or plays soccer. All that remain with her are scars, six to be exact, and the array of pills she takes twice a day to help keep the disease at bay.

What would have happened if it took us more than two months and four doctors before we lucked into someone who could piece all the symptoms together? I don't know.

I do know that the fourth doctor, the one who brought in others to see our daughter's condition so they could easily recognize it if they ever had the misfortune to be presented with it again, was a step toward making sure other parents also never have to find out.

That, too, is my purpose today.

It is also my birthday gift to my wife, My Love, Rhonda, for all you have done these past seven years to make others aware of juvenile myositis diseases and help find a cure for them once and for all.

To read more about children and families affected by juvenile myositis diseases, visit Cure JM Foundation at

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to


Happy Birthday, Rhonda!!
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